Road trip with kids and boyfriend

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Californiablonde, May 16, 2013.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    So I met my boyfriend's parents for the first time last month. They were visiting from Arizona and we met up and had dinner. They seem very nice and likeable. They seemed to like me also. So they invited me to come up and visit them on Memorial Day weekend. I told them I would need to check my calender and see if I had the kids that weekend or not. So after checking my calender I realized that is the weekend I have my kids. My boyfriend then relayed the message to his mom that I would be unable to go. So then his mom shocks the heck outta me by responding and saying she would be more than happy to have the kids spend the weekend there also. She does not know my kids are difficult children. I was a little taken aback but my boyfriend really wants us to go so I accepted her invitation.

    From where we live Arizona is a seven hour drive. We will be taking my boyfriend's jeep. I am not really worried about the kids being well behaved once we get there. They are usually on their best behavior in front of people they don't know very well. I am more concerned about the trip up there and back. They are quite comfortable around my boyfriend and they have no problem exhibiting some of their worst behavior in front of him. And they are notorious for fighting with each other in the back seat. They can get pretty mean and physical with each other for petty little things like looking at one another the wrong way or accidently touching each other. And they have never been in a car for more than say and hour or so. So this will be a challenge for them. I ordered books through Amazon for easy child and I to take for the trip.

    My book is about cognitive behavior therapy and I'm really looking forward to being able to read it. I got easy child the book he wanted and it's a pretty thick book with lots of pages. But he is an incredibly fast reader and I know he will probably read the whole thing on our way up there. So he probably won't have much to do on the way back. difficult child does not like to read. I am taking along a portable DVD player for her so she can watch movies. I already anticipate them arguing over who gets to watch what movie first, who accidentally touched who, etc. I am hoping and praying if I keep them occupied enough that they won't argue or get into some big confrontation. This is really going to be a big test for my boyfriend to see if he can really handle two challenging kids for three days in a row. Wish me luck!
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    OK, sister... rules for the road.

    1) on a road trip that long, do NOT leave both in back seat for the whole trip. I'm assuming boyfriend is driving so... the rest of you rotate seats every hour, and you get the extra one, so you start up front. (you, DS, daughter, you, DS, daughter, you = 7 hours) This gives whoever is in front a chance to chat with boyfriend, to see more of the scenery, etc. It also prevents back-seat-road-trip-fever.

    2) take food.... stuff to nibble on, stuff to drink. But make it healthy. Take a cooler if you need to. Trust me, you don't want kids with low blood sugar ... or a major blood-sugar high ... on a road trip. Sausage sticks. Carrot sticks. Potato chips (ya, junk... but not sugar). Fruit. Nuts. Dried fruit. whatever. FEED them.

    3) PLAN your stops in advance, so the kids know WHEN and WHERE to expect them.

    4) Go buy some rolls of quarters. 1 roll each, or two rolls each. Give them to the kids at the START of the trip, along with a list of "fines". Poking your brother/sister = one quarter. etc. SO... the less they fight and bicker, the more money they get to KEEP.

    5) Go get easy child more books. :D
  3. Hopeless

    Hopeless ....Hopeful Now

    Oh I like all the ideas IC listed. I was going to suggest the rotate seating and snacks.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well personally we have done lots of road trips and we travel quite frequently with the grands. With the boys we had that "you are breathing my air" bit.

    I never did the rotating seats because Im not a kid and I refuse to let them put me in that position. They have to learn to get along together. They did.

    I would get some of those handheld video games if you dont have access to something like a tablet. Doesnt your daughter have a cell phone? I seem to remember from another post that she does.. Let her play games on that but make sure you have a charger that reaches the back seat. Or an extra battery. As far as those handheld games you can get some fairly cheap at walmart. It used to be we took the dvd player with us for the grand kids but now its either the laptop or the tablet. You can get adapters for the car to plug in the computer to charge it. Not very expensive. Just turns the cigarette lighter into an outlet.

    I agree with taking snacks but I would also stop at least every hour to let the kids out to stretch their legs. Heck I need to get out and at least go to the bathroom and walk around for about 5/10 minutes before getting back in the car. For a 7 hour trip I would leave during the dark....if you can start the trip at night when they would normally be sleeping that would be even better. Or if that isnt possible, start as early in the morning as possible so they might still sleep for a couple of hours. You might also want to get them a couple of cheap camera's so they can take pictures of what they see. You can get cheap digital camera's at Radio Shack I think. Or go look at a pawn shop for used ones for about 20 a piece.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  5. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    Snacks- if you can and they don't share well make up individual bags or backpacks with their items in it for each (books, snacks, etc) this way no one has to invade space. Unlike Janet, we've had to do the seperating of front seat back seat with adults and it is NOT fair I agree with her. I can't sit in back but SO can and does because it would be impossible to go places at times. In the more recent times it's been ok now but it's a suggestion for you IF you need to utilize it. Don't start with giving them the power and control of it at first though!

    Road games - can be very useful even with older kids. We've played everything from alphabet (find signs, license plates, etc that begin with the letter you're on), colored or type of cars, state license plate bingo. If you look online there are plenty of "car games" or road trip games if you google. They can be your friend for a very long trip. Videos, books and other things sometimes only last so long. I would list a bunch more but it would be more useful to you to look them up and see what appeals to you since there is so many. Just because they seem juvenile, don't dismiss them! You would be surprised what actually works. My kids are teens and one is 21 and she still enjoys playing them! :)

    Going into it expecting problems, like you are also does help but letting them roll off your back and riding them out while distracting, redirecting often helps them to blow over way quick too.

    Most of all, re read the above.....know that you will survive even if you have the problems but you will be building a MEMORY! Enjoy your trip!
  6. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    We're taking a road trip too at the end of June but it will just be me, husband, and younger son. We're heading down to Myrtle Beach, SC which is about a 12 hour drive for us. I'm really looking forward to it but I'm slightly worried about younger son being bored/whiny. So a lot of these great tips apply to us too! Thank you everyone!

    CB - no matter what have a great time! It's an experience and memory that you'll all remember forever!
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Prep boyfriend. It is so typical sibling stuff....u dont need a difficult child in the mix for road trip stress!

    Again, prepare the boyfriend for what he is in for. Then.....let everything roll right off your back.
  8. nerfherder

    nerfherder Active Member

    I've done 6+hour road trips a *lot.* This is where one of Kiddo's obsessive behaviors comes in handy - reading roadsigns aloud.

    Years ago when Perfect Enough Child was little, on long drives to family a couple-three states away, she and DEX would do the "Beetle!" game, where you get points if you see a VW Beetle and holler it out first. One day we were waiting at a train crossing when I looked up, and hollered out "BEETLE I WIN FOREVER." It was a 20+ car train hauling VWs to a distributor in another state, apparently. Well, that killed that game! :) So I started another game for PEC and DEX - "Police Car!" And I'll tell you, that one was fun AND useful to whoever was driving!

    So, yeah, the Police Car game is a good one. :)

    The biggest challenge was me, 11 year old PEC and 8 year old Kiddo driving from just outside Philadelphia to Orange County, CA. Ahead of time I mapped out all the Radio Disney broadcast cities, got onto the AAA website and printed out Triptic pages to each stop (and even before the World Wide Web and Google Maps and in-car GPS systems there was AAA and their Triptic service where you went to your nearest office and they gave you printed directions with maps), printed out phone numbers, lists and locations of possible touristy side trips along the way, arranged with friends and family across the US to spend the night wherever reasonable (with gifts pre-packed for those friends). Also emergency water bottles, blankets, a little shovel, an emergency medical supply kit (with a bottle of ipecac for You Know Who just in case)... I was all ready for nearly anything reasonable.

    I learned that on a looong trip like that, it's good to be ready to box up and mail ahead any clothes that end up shoved to the back of the trunk 'cause nobody wants to wear 'em, that people in Morehead, KY really do drink moonshine out of mason jars (and if well made it tastes pretty darned good!) and it's possible to live on bacon and eggs three times a day (I think our Morehead visit with the folk tale historian there was the best part of the trip!), that if you drive into Texas and decide you're going to play the Beetle game variant counting cowboy hats, you're going to walk into a hotel hosting a Retired Rodeo Cowboy convention when you arrive in San Antonio and decide there's no point in continuing. And that west Texas is very, very, very, very, very, very flat. Arizona you can have sunny desert on one side of the road and a piled up thunderstorm with a rainbow on the other side.

    And that kiddos who want to play chase games around the parked car WILL notice something's not right if you don't tell them "Hey, we're at 8000 feet above sea level, you might want to take it easy."

    And that the Banderas Crater/Ice Cave is a very cool side trip.

    And if you blink too many times, you'll miss the fact that you just drove across West Virginia.

    And that in 2003, New Mexico had the only highway tourist/rest stop across the southern half of the US with free wireless. Middle of nowhere! Free wireless! I was boggled.

    And that suburban shopping districts all across the US look so identical it's disturbing. Even 10 years ago. From Northeast Philly to Virginia to Memphis to Texas to Arizona to southern Nevada to California.

    Sorry for the long distraction, but I was taking a break from raking out the old rabbit corral. :)
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh we always played road games with the boys when they were younger because we didnt have the electronic stuff. We played alphabet Bingo with road signs. Then there was name all the baseball teams, football teams, states, state capitals. Can you spot a cow, horse, donkey, etc.

    With the alphabet game you have to start with A and then you go to the next letter. Whoever gets to Z first wins. Of course there is Punch Buggy but that might not be so
  10. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your advice. Road games are a great idea. difficult child doesn't play video games but she does use her phone to listen to music. Still, I doubt listening to hours worth of music is going to keep her occupied so other types of games are a great idea. We are all going to be battling over one cell phone charger. I am going to want to use my phone to go on Facebook some of the time. The kids are going to want to use their phones too. So we are all going to have to take turns charging our phones. Hopefully that goes over well. I forgot to mention that I will be seeing my estranged father. He lives in the same city my boyfriend's parents do. So his parents invited my dad and stepmom over for dinner that Saturday night. I do not talk to my dad otherwise. I see him maybe once every two years when he comes to visit. Other than that we do not talk on the phone or text or anything. We are not close at all. So it should be interesting. He has not seen his grandkids in two years. Hoping all goes well with the trip and we all have fun. easy child is not looking forward to it but hopefully he changes his mind.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I've done the rotating seats and the road games. Sometimes it works. on the other hand, IF it is possible to depart in the dark with pillow and blankets and sleepiness on your side.........your may get a big headstart in peace. Then using meals as the transition and LATER the change of MAY make it. Good luck. DDD
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I do not sit in back seats if it can be avoided. I get carsick. I cannot read in the car because I get sick when I do, so I use audiobooks. My kids had to learn to get along in the car because it takes an hour and a half to go to a mall or to a LOT of places. We got a best buy and some other 'big' stores about three years ago, but mostly we have to drive to go do the monthly stock up shopping. Plus any doctor other than the basic one takes a drive.

    Think about what they like and then make sure they can do that. Movies, music, books, etc... are all good. Mine learned to behave or Mom would sing. thank you didn't mind, Jess didn't if I sang along with the radio, but Wiz always minded. He hears in perfect pitch and I sing HORRIBLY so it is often painful for him to listen to me. If they didn't behave, if they fought, I sand Barney songs. Ones about manners, or cleaning up, or whatever. When J misbehaved I sang songs from Blues Clues because she hated them (hated that show once she was about eight, lol). I learned fast about what they hated and had zero problems using it as negative reinforcement to make them stop doing things.

    On rest stops, they MUST run or walk around for five min. PERIOD. NO EXCEPTIONS. OTherwise they have too much energy.

    They MUST have protein every 2 hours or so. MUST. It keeps the fighting down. We drove from OK to OH and back, or to FL and back every xmas and summer once I turned 13. These are the things that kept us from killing each other (adults too - the year my dad didn't want to snack? OMG he was AWFUL and griped nonstop for six hours until I flat out refused to get into the car at a rest stop somewhere in MO. Told them I would be there when they came back in a week and to tell Gma I said Hi and stayed in MO in the middle of nowhere because my dad was being an idiot. Yes, I said exactly that. Shocked my mom into speechlessness and I would have been dead if my dad hadn't listened, been shocked then realized that I was RIGHT and if I told his mom about this HE WOULD BE DEAD, esp if tehy yelled at me for this. It was pretty funny looking back, but then? I was dead serious.

    Talk to your boyfriend about stops BEFORE you get into the car. MANY guys do not want to stop often. My dad would NEVER stop for bathroom breaks or anything else when we were kids. It took the first big gulps to be available to stop him. Mom got him one and it was her turn to drive. She kept 'missing' the rest stops for about an hour after he said he had to go. She then stopped and would not let him out until he listened to her say that we felt that way on EVERY drive because he would NEVER stop. Ever since then, before ANY road trip over thirty min, my dad tells everyone to speak up if you have to go and we will stop no matter how long we have been in the car - five min or five hours, just say the word.

    If you and boyfriend don't have the rules down between yourselves, and stick to them, then the kids are going to eat you alive. So talk to him FIRST.
  13. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    We are leaving Friday night after dinner around 7:00. I am hoping the kids can sleep in the car. difficult child will probably be knocked out once I give her the Geodon, but easy child is notorious for having a hard time sleeping. So I will bring some Melatonin just in case. And my boyfriend says the rules are no eating in the car. So I seriously told him you need to be prepared to stop at least every two hours then. The kids are gonna want snacks and we are all going to need to stretch out and walk around from time to time. His mom is a sweetheart. She asked me about the kids and what their likes and dislikes are for food and drinks. They are taking us out to breakfast on Saturday morning and then for a drive to do a little sight seeing. My dad and his wife will coming over Saturday night for dinner and on Sunday we are going to their church and will be eating breakfast there. Monday morning we will be leaving early to drive back home. So it sounds like we will be busy most of the time we are there. I am looking forward to going but not so much the driving. But hopefully the kids will be occupied enough and we won't have any major issues.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    At least take drinks... water bottles are minimum.

    Take pillows and blankets - it helps for sleeping in the car.

    Why would you leave so late? Wouldn't it make sense to hit the road first, make some miles, and then stop for supper?
  15. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    We have to work on Friday so we have to wait till later.
  16. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    We are allowed drinks just no eating. I know SO eats in his car cause I always see empty fast food paper bags in his jeep, so he made up the rule just for my kids. Granted, my kids are allowed to eat in my car and it is always full of crumbs and a stray french fry or a few, so maybe he is afraid they will dirty up his car the way they do mine. But I only get my car vacuumed out every few months or so and it does look pretty messy due to that. I am not the best at keeping my car clean. I guess that's why he is making up the no eating rule. easy child texted me last night and requested I make him several Nutella sandwiches for the trip. I let my boyfriend know that we will need to be stopping every couple hours so the kids can get out and have a snack. So the kids should be fine with that. We will have water bottles for them to drink and I may even let them have a soda for the trip. Normally I don't let my kids drink soda except for on rare ocassions. I may let them have one as a special treat for the trip. I am hoping they will be sleeping through most of it. difficult child and I have our night time pills but getting easy child to sleep is going to be tricky.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If easy child can't sleep, then... when the "girls" crash out, he should be up front to keep the driver awake. It will make him feel important.
  18. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Does anybody know how much a person is supposed to weigh to sit in front? I am just worried about easy child sitting up there with the air bags. He is about 5 feet tall and weighs 100 pounds. His dad lets him sit in the front seat but so far I've been too nervous to let him.
  19. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    [h=2]According to the California Driver Handbook: A child of six weighing less than sixty pounds must ride in an approved[/h]
    [TABLE="class: answer_segment, width: 100%"]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]restraint in the back seat of the car. But there are exceptions to this rule, such as...

    • No rear seat
    • Medical reasons
    From the California Driver Handbook: "A child may not ride in the front seat of an airbag-equipped vehicle if the child:
    • Is under one year of age.
    • Weighs less than 20 pounds.
    • Is riding in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system.


    Just a quick google search!

    Since you are driving overnight, I would suggest everyone eats a good meal before you all leave and then the kids should be ok. If they are sleeping and/or easy child is sitting up front with an electronic device, reading material, or helping to keep boyfriend awake, the need for food overnight would probably be more from boredom than anything else. If the kids both end up going to sleep, there wouldn't be any reason to stop unless those awake need a potty or stretch break...
  20. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I remember hearing a story of a very small asian woman who was decapitated by an air bag. Since then I've been overly paranoid about letting the kids sit in the front seat. I didn't let difficult child sit in front until she was at least 13.